The artistic direction of many fashion houses changed hands in 2018. It all started in January with Hedi Slimane’s appointment at Céline’s and was followed a few months later by Riccardo Tisci’s nomination at Burberry’s. On March 26, Louis Vuitton followed suite and named Virgil Abloh its new menswear’s artistic director. The announcement was important on more than one level. First because Virgil Abloh then became the first African-American designer to ever work for the Parisian House. Then, because he was also coming after one of the most talented menswear designers the brand had ever known, Kim Jones. And last, because his personal label, Off-White, was one of the hottest things around at the time and that people wanted to see how he would blend the aesthetics of both brands.
“I feel elated”, he told The New York Times at the time. “This opportunity to think through what the next chapter of design and luxury will mean at a brand that represents the pinnacle of luxury was always a goal in my wildest dreams. And to show a younger generation that there is no one way anyone in this kind of position has to look is a fantastically modern spirit in which to start.”
Three years on, the love story shows no sign of slowing down. Virgil Abloh was initially trained as an architect and completed a Master’s Degree at the Illinois Institute of Technology and it shows. More than being just a fashion designer, he was trained to think out of the box and give a fresh look to whatever came his way. Last January, he presented his AW21 collection for the French house, a poetic yet modern line that shined a light on his Ghanaian roots and put the emphasis on the urge to share and showcase one’s personal values and make them seen and understood. A line which, once again, was applauded by critics as well as consumers.